About us

Our mission is to develop self-sufficient communities in hard-to-reach rural areas of northern Malawi.

We achieve this by having strong guiding principles and a clear strategy which permeate everything we do: from managing our projects, to raising funds and communicating our work.

Our principles

At the heart of our organisation is a community-led approach to development, making sure that everything we do is developed in partnership with the people we support. We want to help communities achieve self-sufficiency, so our projects provide sustainable, long-term training to become independent.

To do that, we have to work with trust and integrity, with a team of staff and volunteers who we can rely on. This also means always operating with professionalism, using the skills, experience, and local knowledge we’ve acquired since we started.

Our strategy

Our guiding priniciples are fundamental to our ten year strategy, developed in partnership with staff, trustees, community members, and local chiefs and government. This strategy will help us grow and continue to provide much-needed support and development opportunities to Nkhata Bay North.

At the end of ten years, we should have done our work so well, that these communities won’t need Temwa any more. That’s why central to the strategy is our exit plan. Over the course of our work, we will leave structures, training and opportunities in place that will enable communities to continue reaping the benefits of projects, long after we’ve stopped directly supporting them. We’ll then be able to move on to new areas in need of support.

Where we work

We work in the Nkhata Bay North district of Malawi – one of the poorest countries in the world. Nkhata Bay North is a very remote area on the edge of Lake Malawi, comprising 145 villages which are home to around 45,000 people. Most people live in a large, flat lakeside area, although there are also some villages in the upland mountain range. Overall, the region is extremely isolated and receives little government help.

Some of the main problems facing communities are:

  • a chronic shortage of food, often with periods of starvation;
  • high rates of HIV and AIDS;
  • limited access to basic education;
  • deforestation, which causes flooding and displacement;
  • only one hospital in the region, which lacks fundamental equipment, staff and medicine;
  • very few roads and limited access to transport;
  • limited employment opportunities.


Temwa was founded in 2003 by our Managing Director, Jo Hook, and one of our trustees, Sophie Guise, after running a backpackers’ lodge in Usisya, a remote village on the lakeshore.

During their time at the lodge, Jo and Sophie’s close friend and colleague, Lotti Nkhwazi, died after developing AIDS. Lotti had little access to healthcare before his death and had been supporting his sister, brother, and sister-in-law, as well as 15 children, through his income from the lodge. His death had a dramatic impact on his extended family and their fortunes.

Seeing first-hand the challenging conditions that so many Malawians must face on a daily basis inspired Jo and Sophie to return to the UK in 2000, where they spent the following three years fundraising and researching how best to help people like Lotti.

With that, Temwa was born, and officially launched as a charity in 2003.

Our key achievements

From initially supporting a small community of 2,000, we’ve continued to grow, and today work with around 55,000 people.
  • We have trained over 5,200 farmers in sustainable farming practices and building climate resilience to help increase household income.
  • We have tested over 31,000 people for HIV and supported those that are HIV positive through our counselling service.
  • We have helped over 1,200  school children improve their literacy.
  • We have supported 100 children through 5 years of secondary school.
  • We have planted 1.5 million trees to help combat climate change whilst helping community members develop forest friendly livelihoods.
  • We have helped 6,900 men, women and children access safe, clean water and hygiene education.
  • We have distributed more than 1,300 microloans to small business entrepreneurs.
Read more about our achievements in the Annual Report and Accounts

Strategic Plan

Temwa’s Strategic Plan 2021 – 2031

Our vision is of thriving, inclusive and self-reliant communities throughout Northern Malawi that are able to transform their own futures.


Temwa UK is a UK-registered charity, working in partnership with our Malawi sister organisation, Temwa Malawi, based in Mzuzu in Northern Malawi. The two organisations are independently run, each with its own board of trustees, staff and volunteers. They are united by the shared common principles below.

Temwa UK carries out fundraising and provides technical support to Temwa Malawi, while Temwa Malawi develops, delivers and monitors projects in close consultation with the communities we serve. Our work in Malawi is therefore delivered by Malawi citizens with strong links to the communities we support.

Our Principles

We are community driven. All the decisions we make are guided by the communities we serve. Communities decide what they need. We work with them to support the emergence of self-leadership and collective action.

We work towards self-reliance. We work to help communities realise long-term self-reliance, so that they can develop and thrive beyond our support.

We are committed to sustainable development, to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This means protecting and improving the natural resources that communities depend on.

We believe in inclusive communities. This means valuing and incorporating the contributions of all members, regardless of age, gender, health or wealth. We work to ensure that the benefits of development are shared by all, leaving no-one behind.

Our relationships are built on integrity, openness, mutual accountability and professionalism. Our donors, partners, communities and staff can depend on our commitment to these values.

Implementing Temwa’s Community Driven Approach

We want to work towards fully achieving our vision of self-reliant communities that no longer need Temwa’s support.
A key part of this approach is strengthening local governance. We support collective engagement with local governance to help community members to see its value and purpose and to increase accountability. We will also directly build the skills of the local governance structures, so that they operate in line with their mandate and are able to lead on implementing their locally owned development plans.

Read more about this in Temwa’s strategic plan 2021-2031 here.

Annual Reports and Accounts

You can read about our achievements in our annual reports and accounts from 2015 to 2020 below. If you wish to see annual reports from before 2015, please get in contact with our team, who will be happy to assist.

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